Whether you’re using the holiday to take a break from work, spend time with family and friends, or make progress on your to-do list, it’s important to use the day off – and what it commemorates – to your advantage.
In September 1882, thousands of workers of all trades marched through New York City to draw attention to their rights and achievements. Over the next few years, more states followed suit and adopted the September tradition to pay tribute to the contributions workers have made to our country. Twelve years later in 1894, Congress finally recognized Labor Day as a national holiday. It wasn’t until 1938, however, that the federal government set a minimum wage, maximum workweek, and child labor laws.
Now that you know the story behind why you have the day off work or your bank is closed the first Monday of September, here are 3 ways you can create a new tradition this Labor Day by reflecting on your career and your pay, in honor of the workforce that came before us.
Do a career audit: Don’t wait until January to ask yourself the hard-hitting questions, like: Am I happy with my job? Am I making what I’m worth? Is there opportunity to advance? If you find several missed opportunities, it’s time to make some changes. This could be as simple as signing up for additional training, cleaning up your resume, or advancing your education. Analyzing your career path and making adjustments where needed will set you up for success, both in your happiness and finances.
Create a 5-year career plan: This one could be easy as 1-2-3 or could require a bit more reflection. Consider your past and present to develop what you want your future to look like and what you want to accomplish both professionally and personally. This could entail advancing in your current company or searching for another position. Be sure to account for maintaining a competitive salary, too, to help get you where you want to go.
Evaluate your paycheck: Social security, healthcare, retirement… Do you know what every deduction on your paycheck is really for? Take a closer look at your paycheck and make sure all your deductions are exactly where you want them, especially when it comes to retirement contributions. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your HR department.
Remember, use this Labor Day as motivation to take a look at, well, anything that involves your Labor – your career, your finances, etc. Having some time off work is the perfect opportunity to get these important tasks off your to-do list.